Image for denture article All surfaces of the oral cavity—including teeth, orthodontic appliances, and dentures—have a tendency to become coated with plaque, which is a transparent, sticky film that attracts bacteria and food particles. When oral care is not performed regularly, plaque begins to harden, which makes it difficult to remove. This can result in tooth and gum disease.

As is the case with natural teeth, brushing your dentures and gums at least once a day helps remove food particles and plaque, which will maintain good oral health. Doing so also keeps denture stains and bad breath odors at bay.

Although dentures serve to replace the functions of natural teeth, there are some key differences to be aware of when caring for your removable pearly whites to keep them bright and long lasting.

  1. Dentures are usually made of a plastic resin and sometimes they contain metal parts. They are very delicate and may break easily if dropped even a short distance. When holding dentures to clean them, hold them over a folded towel or a basin full of water to protect them.
  2. Remove loose food particles from dentures by first rinsing them thoroughly in water. But remember, rinsing alone is not enough to clean your dentures.
  3. Moisten a soft-bristled brush, preferably one designed for cleaning dentures. Hard bristles will scratch your dentures.
  4. Apply denture cleanser (choose one with the American Dental Association seal of approval). In a pinch, you may even use a mild hand soap or dishwashing soap.
  5. Gently scrub all surfaces of your dentures to remove plaque, while taking care not to scratch the surface.
  6. Thoroughly rinse dentures, as traces of cleanser or soap may irritate your gums.
  7. Before placing dentures back in your mouth, brush your gums, the roof of your mouth, and your tongue with a separate soft brush to remove plaque and stimulate circulation. Rinse mouth well.
  8. Unless your dentist recommends otherwise, remove your dentures overnight (6-8 hours) to allow your gums to rest. During this time, store dentures in water or special denture cleansing liquid. This will keep them from drying out and losing their shape. But do not soak longer than directed, as any metal parts may tarnish. Keep your dentures away from children and pets.

Staying in contact with your dentist regularly is important to ensure that your dentures and oral health are optimal. Dentists not only perform cleanings but can also spot early signs of diseases, such as oral cancer.